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Abandon All Hope by Elle2
I can’t, I won’t; it’s just not in me. Sure, I’ll be sad *and oh, how I am* by Ellen’s and Jo’s deaths. I’ll be worried about Sam’s fate, to be Lucifer’s vessel or not, by how far Castiel will lose his abilities and what impact that has on the character, how the leadership role that Dean has been slowly but surely accepting will weigh on the character, whether Bobby will ever regain the ability to walk (I’m betting no) but I will not abandon all hope. 
Once again Supernatural redeems a character that was conceived with great intentions, miswritten along the way and finally ends up really, really well. When we first met Jo in ELAC she was flirty, funny and confident in her world. Fine. No problem. Trying to take her out of that world and make her a hunter didn’t work too well in No Exit. Something didn’t translate with her younger sister persona and inexperience thus Jo the experiment didn’t work. A shame. They did a decent job of growing her a bit by the time BUABS but she finally came into her own in AAH. Even in GGY Jo was still immature, frightened and lost at the thought of her mother being possessed, turning to Rufus, her surrogate father figure at the time, for encouragement. As Jo was more of a prop for Ellen in GGY she wasn’t given a fair turn, although she fought well and I’ll grant her that. 

In Abandon All Hope the writers let her go with a bang. She was strong, confident and in control from the beginning. She played the helpless damsel in distress at Crowley’s mansion which morphed quickly to hunter as she, still in slinky black dress, pulls out a set of wire cutters to no doubt disable the electricity and anything else with wires. Watching, and enjoying, her mother match Castiel shot for shot (or was it Castiel matching Ellen?) and then her excellent cold shoulder to Dean was to me a lot of fun. It showed a nuance to Jo that had been lacking in Season 2. This Jo is aware of her sexuality and also very aware that she can choose who and where and when and that the game of catch me if you can is a lot more fun that here I am, come and get me. I liked how she got Dean right where she wanted him and then left him with a laugh and the confidence of someone who knows who she is.

Confidence can kill you though and that’s where Jo proved her mettle and proved to be her downfall. With Dean flattened by a hell hound Jo turns and wades full on into the fray, brave to be sure and she can handle a shotgun. As so often happens when someone wades directly into the middle of a fight though, someone gets hurt. In this case, with ripping claws of hell hounds everywhere those hurts are fatal. 

Kudos to Alona Tal for bringing Jo’s shock such realism. Her face and her eyes and the slump of her body convey all that she’s not given words for, agony, shock, disbelief and a detachment from reality. She’s aware of what’s happening but from a distance. Finally, given a chance to regroup a bit she comes into the fullness of the character, everything Jo has wanted to be and told us she wanted to be in No Exit, she wanted to hunt. She wanted to do it for her father, to make him proud. Jo, you did. Thank you, Ben Edlund, for giving this character a full arc, even if most of it occurred in this episode, and allowing her to be all grown up and fully realized; Jo was a hunter and she died a hunter’s death. While I hated that Bobby and Sam and Dean burned the picture (the small sentimentalist in me wanted them to always have that memory) I recognize what they were doing was having a funeral the only way they could.
Jo and Dean
There was a lot said in those small moments between Dean and Jo. I’m fairly certain at Bobby’s the most Dean was looking for was a little roll in the hay with Jo, nothing more, nothing less. That’s just me seeing Dean as Dean, nothing bad, it’s who he is. However, much more was said in that last moment between the two of them and Dean’s final gaze as Jo’s image burned away in the fireplace. Dean has truly experienced the loss of Jo, as his friend, his little sister and as someone who quite possibly he could have loved. That just might be me reading too much into things but that final kiss on the lips wasn’t lustful or even passion filled but more of a deep love that is saying goodbye. 
Since I’m planning an article on Ellen I won’t spend much time here other than to say that Samantha Ferris knocked it out of the park. Truly. Many of you who’ve read my stuff these last few months have heard that I lost my beloved German Shepherd, RJ. He died on July 7th when I chose to put him to sleep to end his suffering and give him dignity and kindness. Even as I type this the tears spring to my eyes. On that very same day (evening actually) a litter of ten German Shepherd puppies was born and I got first pick of the black and red males. My new friend, Jobe, came home on September 2nd and today he is just two days shy of being twenty weeks old. What does that have to do with Samantha Ferris? I’ll tell you.

That scene with Ellen and Jo, as Ellen tells the fading Jo that she’ll always love her and then realizes Jo is dead is exactly how it was with RJ and me. I was petting him and telling him how much I loved him and what a good boy he was as he slipped away and when he was gone I told him again that he was my good boy, my very good boy. I felt the agony of Ellen as that scene played out and it breaks my heart open anew just to write this. So, I’m done now - Ellen, I’ll miss you forever in the future. Samantha, you’ve got loads of talent for bringing a character to life. I hope you get lots and lots of opportunities in the future to bring someone else to life.
Sam facing off with Lucifer:
It’s interesting to note how quickly and easily Lucifer sows doubt and deceit. It’s fabulous to watch how effortlessly Jared conveys Sam’s conflict between knowing he is his own person and yet fearing he’s fated to become something else. I suppose for Sam the torment is that he’s tried to escape fate (hunting) by running away to Stamford only to have it all come crashing back on him. Perhaps that was why he was so fearful that he’d go ‘darkside’ because he wasn’t able to escape hunting in the first place and thus he accepted his ‘destiny’ without much of a fight, while Dean constantly maintained that he doesn’t believe in destiny.

I wonder how much Sam was acting the part of conflicted Sam and how much is actual conflict of mind as he stood and stoked his fire against Lucifer. Sam by now knows that Dean has his back no matter what, so what was Lucifer doing with his taunts, and was Sam truly taking the bait or was he playing a masterful hustle as he did back in The Curious Case of Dean Winchester?

I love that Sam has finally come to the point in his character growth that he is no longer accepting his destiny; we’ve come a long way from Hunted when he tells Dean that he accepts his destiny whatever it is. Now, Sam is saying no. I do have a mind. I do have a choice and my choice is no, no, NO. Keep it up Sam. Although, I can figure out what six months means (May sweeps) so we’ll have to watch, wait and see.


# Jasminka 2009-11-23 03:00
Elle2, you amaze me – thank you for this personal, well-thought-ou t review! I can’t believe how much you summed up what I felt about this episode, how alike in thinking can two people actually be who are thousands of miles apart and don’t know each other except via a blog they contribute to? Amazed, really. Great work!!

I haven’t found this site earlier - to read about you losing your beloved dog (even though it feels as if I have been a part of this for years by now, thanks to the wonderfully warm welcome and the great exchange of opinions here – thanks again to you, Elle2, and all the other ‘commentators ’), I’m profoundly sorry to hear about it and happy for you that you found a new sweet friend.

I can imagine how this episode brought up the painful memories of that experience. In my head the moments I said goodbye to my mother a bit more than a year ago popped up, telling her again and again how much I loved her. We had had a tough relationship, in some nuances not unlike Sam and John, and ‘no prisoners’ was the motto in our fights, but we deeply loved each other. I also felt that those last moments served as an opportunity to forgive each other and to allow her to go into the greatest mystery at peace and with the knowledge of being loved.
This is the most important thing we can do – give the other one, be it a mother or a beloved dog, the security of being loved. I think there is nothing more essential to a human being than that.
That’s it, now I’m crying. Strange how some pain always resurfaces when you think about it, even though it’s basically under control most of the time. Well, this episode did that to me as well…

I’m looking forward to your articles, as you plan to touch on two of my favourite characters. I love Bobby (have I mentioned, that I love Bobby?) and will always miss Ellen. Bring her back to life, at least in one – no doubt – witty and moving article.

Thank you again for this, love Jas
# Dany 2009-11-23 10:58
Great review Elle2! You're right this one's is a Damn you Kripke! And like you I too won't abandon all hope (and yes it's hard after this epi and bc I end up in tears just by thinking of it, crazy I know!)

I liked Jo because I always thought she had potential, and that was well shown in this episode, I'm just sad that she had to die. If things were different I think this all grown up/adult Jo and Dean would have a chance on a deep love like you so well put it.
I'm gonna miss Ellen too, I loved her from day one and I think that like Bobby is a father figure, Ellen could've been a mother (maybe an aunt) figure to the boys.

I liked Crowley a lot, hope to see him again. And Meg I think she's gonna have a bad wake up call!

Lucifer and Sam! I'm starting to think that Lucifer (who is getting creepier as time passes) and the angels (Zach and the rest of the dicks with wings) keep repeating that Sam his going to say yes in Detroit in 6 moths it's just an attempt for Sam to loose his confidence (and hope) and start thinking that he can't change destiny (if you repeat or are repeated constantly the same thing over and over, you'll end up believing that's true) so in he end he will be so worn out that the smallest bad thing that'll happen will make him say yes (I'm making any sense here?), but that's just my opinion.

Anyway, I'm just enjoying the ride, so thanks for this review Elle2 and I'll be waiting for those other articles of yours.
# Randal 2009-11-23 12:11
A lot of great stuff in here, and we get teary-eyed watching, but when you (sub)consciousl y transfer real life pain, you get a better sense of what the characters are going through. I hope that didn't come across as trivializing what you went through. Like Jasminka, I found this site late. I can't imagine losing one of my cats, I'd be a freaking mess.

Alona looked older here - duh statement of the year, I know - and not that she was a bad actor before, and maybe it was the import of the episode, but everything in her performance was kicked up a notch. Samantha kicked ass as always.

Such a vital episode that'll surely reward upon repeated viewings. And you're right, the Lucifer/Sam music was beautifully dark.
# BagginsDVM 2009-11-23 13:31
Beautiful review! I too was reminded of final moments with a loved one as Ellen cradled Jo in her arms. I am a veterinarian and have found myself saying those words to 3 of my own dogs over the years and been there with many other people as they have said goodbye as well, even just this morning. It never gets any easier. There are tears in my eyes right now.

I always liked Ellen & Jo. After seeing Alona Tal at the Chicago con recently, I have even greater appreciation for her. Major kudos to her & Samantha Ferris for breaking my heart!

And Jasminka, what a wonderful story about the Polish gentleman. I am sure Jared would be honored to hear it.
# elle2 2009-11-23 18:31
Hi, Jas, Dany, Randal, and BagginsDVM,

Thanks for the comments.

FIrst off Randal (taking you out of order :-) You didn't trivialize my feelings at all, you put them into words. That's why this eppie hit so hard as I was able to 'feel' the emotions so much more intimately. I was lucky, I had my kitty Munchkin to help and now Jobe (who is 20 weeks today and just shy of 50 pounds with much, much, much growing left) is easing the pain greatly.

Now, to Jas, isn't it cool that so many of us have similar thoughts. I just read Bardicvoice's review of The Real Ghostbusters and she said a lot of things that I felt (although she says it so much better...I love her stuff) and I'm aften amazed that so many echo my thoughts -- or I echo theirs. Thanks for sharing your personal story, I know someone else here was torn up at last season's IKWYDLS because their mother had recently passed away and her name was Anna, so when Castiel said Anna has to die, well, you can imagine the pain it evoked.

Dany, you're right, I think Jo had a lot of potential and it really showed here -- and as Randal said, uh, yes she looked older but she also looked older from GGY to here, the apocalypse was maturing her quickly.

BagginsDVM, thanks for sharing your experiences as well. The vet and techs at my place were so lovely...course they loved RJ too and now just sparkle and dote over my new little 'man' (who just this evening 'learned' how to jump into the back of the car, heretofor he had been unable to do but now he's figured it out) They really eased the pain and I for one could not do what they do as I take on others' pain so quickly...proba bly why Ellen and Jo affected me so.

I'm so glad all are keeping the hope alive and sharing a Damn You, Kripke, but looking forward as well.

It's gonna be an awesome second half and Dany, I think you're onto something...Luc ifer keeps saying hoping to chip away at Sam's's hopeing Dean and Bobby are able to get through to him this time (I'm betting they will)
# elenaM 2009-11-23 18:38
Another great review--capture d everything beautifully for me. I loved how you discussed the score--it's always strong but I thought it was particularly awesome in this episode.
# Jasminka 2009-11-23 19:38
Thanks, Elle2, for your lovely response. It’s a part of the magic of movies or tv-shows that they are able to touch on our emotions, play with them, but also sometimes serve as a catalyst. I’m not a major weeper per se, and sometimes I’d like to cry to loosen up some kind of tension that comes up when confronted with personal issues or pains, but tears just won’t come. Watching an episode like this will get me all teary and piling up Kleenex boxes. Now, while it can be utterly painful, sometimes (luckily not always, or I’d indeed be a masochist… medication anyone?) I welcome it, too.
Yes, I can imagine the agony evoked by the episode you mention after such a loss. What I’ve experienced so far is - it does indeed get better with time, but never goes entirely. Even after years the pain will be there, and I firmly believe that it is a sign that we still love that person. Else, there would be no pain. There is still love, and thereby we never lose that person entirely. They are always with us. And that is a consoling thought.
My heart goes out to that other ‘motherless child’ you mentioned – I hope, you are better now!! :-)

BagginsDVM, I can imagine how cruel is must be to witness goodbyes on a pretty much daily basis. I don’t think one ever gets used to it.
I do hope to see Alona Tal at the L.A. Con, and I’m hoping for Samatha Ferris, what a great woman! You know, I’m still hoping I might have the chance to tell Jared about my Polish patient. He was such a lovely and sweet gentleman. Hoping, praying… oh, well…

Let’s all hope the triumvirate of Bobby, Dean and Sam will remain strong in the upcoming fights with Lucifer! Watch out angel, the humans are coming… (this doesn’t exactly sound as threatening as I wanted it to, does it..?) :-?
Best wishes to you all, Jas
# Randal 2009-11-24 10:50
Jasminka, it would be more threatening if they brought a Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch. 8-)
# Jasminka 2009-11-24 16:37
Hey Randal, provided they are capable of counting to three...?! :lol:
Perhaps they should consult the Book of Armaments... dona eis requiem...
Sweet! Jas